What Do You Do With Old Macs?

Apple computers are well known for their long lifespans. In the late 1990s, while at UC Berkeley, vintage late-1980s Mac SE/30s powered our student newspaper, and connected to the AppleTalk network. Meanwhile at home, if I upgraded my equipment, buying a newer Mac, my old Mac would typically go to a family member, like a brother or my dad, and their previous generation machines would be similarly passed on to somebody else. But that only scales so far.

Where do you turn when your Mac has reached the end of the line?

Even worse, sometimes the Mac can go dead, and won’t make passing along any good. As my wife and I have seen older laptops go kaput, through failed logic boards, hard drive failures or the occasional drop, we’ve racked up about three or so laptops, quietly filed away and collecting dust in our closet (two iBooks and a PowerBook, I believe). Should we be harvesting them for parts, selling them on eBay as junk, or hiding them in the garbage bins in the dead of night after the hard drives are harvested? And if I do steal away the hard drives, how should I nuke my data so it isn’t stolen? With high powered magnets?

As much fun as it is to buy new computers, we all have to say goodbye sometime. How do you do it? I’m listening.


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